Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art – Drowning Girl

Roy Lichtenstein - Drowning Girl

Roy Lichtenstein produced a number of works that he interpreted from various sources, many of them found within the pages of comic books.  These pieces have come to be known as a standard for Pop Art, seeing one will immediately evoke thoughts of Pop Culture and the place where it stands in our society.  There are any numbers of Lichtenstein pieces, which can do this, but Drowning Girl seems to be one of the most identifiable and beloved pieces of the general public today.

The piece is popular both because it is colorfully and texturally rich, as well as the content.  The image, in which a young, beautiful woman is sinking under the water during what appears to be a turbulent storm, thinks to herself that she would rather drown than call for Brad to come help her.  The image is humorous because of the statement that it makes about drama in our culture.  The situation is ludicrous with someone preferring death out of feelings of spite.  However, this is a situation that one would all too easily find in the dramatic presentations of the day.  Drowning Girl serves as a statement about Pop Culture, both the ridiculousness as well as the entertaining, melodramatic quality about it.

Lichtenstein put a great deal of effort into the mechanics of the painting as well.  He took liberties with the original piece, which depicted the boyfriend clinging to a capsized boat in the background as well as different text.  By narrowing in heavily on the drowning girl and slightly changing the words in her thought bubble, Lichtenstein was able to take the one particular element of the original drawing and place all emphasis on the melodrama of the situation.  Additionally, Lichtenstein made heavy use of Benday dots, a form of coloring, which was also frequently used in comic books.  By using these strong colors and textures to highlight the melodrama of the situation, Lichtenstein ensured that Drowning Girl would remain an excellent example of Pop Art.

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